I spent all of the last post talking about things that I couldn’t really explain. This one is different. Now, I’m going to tell you about things that I know because of running the Beast. These are all new things that I learned first hand and am better for it….things that I now know about myself, about kinesiology, about the Spartan Beast itself.
Things I now know about myself
- Obstacle racing is for me. I haven’t been this excited about participating in a sport since my prime years of playing softball. Straight running on sidewalks or city streets is excruciatingly boring to me, but if you add some rough terrain, fire, barbed wire, and walls, then you have something. I am hooked on this sport and can easily see myself flying all over the country to run in Spartan Races.
- My inability to swim hampers my time in these types of races.
- I’m not the only crazy person who likes obstacle racing.
- My stomach can tolerate GU Gels and Honey Stingers.
- I can run with a 50 pound sand bag across the side of a mountain BACKWARDS – because Honey Badger don’t care!
- I can actually climb a rope now.
- I’m in pretty good shape overall. Room for improvements still, but I’m happy.
- Throwing a spear at hay bales is really fun….especially if you hit it.
- My vision and thoughts go into hyper-focus during the challenge. Sometimes I barely knew what was going on around me if it didn’t directly involve my next step, obstacle, etc.
- Next year, my training begins earlier and it will be different. Less long runs (yay!) and more lunging, hill sprints, and log carries.
- My mental resolve was stronger than I thought it would be. There wasn’t a single moment in that race when I thought I might not finish.
- I really, really like jumping over fire!
Things I now know about kinesiology and other stuff related to the body
- I now know what severe leg cramps feel like. Cramps in calves, in quads, in hamstrings, etc…
- Swimming with a life jacket on is very, very slow.
- I don’t care if you can run 15 miles really quickly. Running/hiking/crawling up a black diamond slope with treacherous footing is an entirely different animal.
- Nutrition during extreme races is extremely (get it) important. Just ask my racing buddy from Canada who nearly died of kidney failure after the Beast.
- Four really bad times for your calves or quads lock up with cramps: 1) as you begin a 75 yard crawl under barbed wire through mud, 2) when jumping up to climb over a series of walls 3) when packing 50 pounds of sand up the rugged terrain of a mountain, and 4) at any point during a 150 yard lake swim after having run/climbed for 10 miles.
- Muscle spasms don’t magically disappear once the pain subsides if you continue doing the same thing you were doing when they started.
- There is no comfortable way to carry a bucket of rocks up a hill
- Torture your body and it will pay you back fourfold the next couple of days.
Things I now know about the Beast
- When you burst through an obstacle and sprint to get ahead of a group of runners who have been clock-blocking (ie, holding you back), make sure you pay close attention to race markers. Otherwise you will end up going 100 yards too far and then have to cut back….only to find yourself right back behind that same group again.
- It is no joke. The faint of heart had best resign themselves to the spectator gallery.
- It is one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life.
- The Spartan officials did a fabulous job with registration, parking, food, communication, and even with the post-race showers.
- It is not a mud run as some people have mistakenly called it.
- If you don’t run in the first/competitive heat, expect to have slower times due to delays at obstacles and single track trails.
- Lots of people surrendered before completing it. That’s understandable.
- The collection of extremely fit individuals on that mountain was incredible.
- The memorization obstacle was by far the easiest. X-ray 755-1539
- If you’re fast enough, the Gladiators miss you with the pummel sticks.
- There are lots of ropes and walls on the course.
- The balancing walk across the zig-zagged 2 x 8′s cost me 30 burpees.
- Fire is hot when you jump through it.
- The view from the top of Mt. Killington is breathtaking.
- Finish the Spartan Beast and you’ll feel like a million bucks (at least emotionally)!
- You experience withdrawals from it for at least a week.